To the Editor,
I was recently involved in a cycling accident during a rather casual ride on a safe path meant specifically for cyclists, joggers and hikers. Not the place where one would suspect that an accident would occur. It was a nasty spill where my shoulder and head took the brunt of the fall against the pavement.
My shoulder was badly injured and the bike suffered damage. What also suffered impact damage was the helmet that I was wearing. I’m happy to report that the helmet did the job for which it was intended. I can’t think of what the outcome would have been had I not been wearing it. All I can say is that it would not have been very good.
I was fortunate and I’m taking this lesson learned and looking to bring awareness to the importance of wearing a helmet. Not just while biking, but while skate boarding, roller skating, running around on a scooter or any similar activity.
Head injuries incurred while cycling, or similar activities, account for a significant amount of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and stays at rehab centers. Those are the lucky ones. Many were the result of not wearing a helmet and could have either been prevented (such as mine) or minimized.
Since the accident I’ve taken notice of those riding around without wearing a helmet, not just children, but adults as well. On some occasions it was an adult riding along with a group of children, presumably a parent. The best way to educate is by example, which this certainly does not.
Laws in NJ only mandate that those younger than 17 wear a helmet while cycling, although good sense should dictate the necessity for it at any age. From what I see, there does not seem to be an effort to enforce the law for those who are required. I call on Mayor Brindle and urge the town of Westfield, and surrounding towns, to work with their respective police departments to initiate a program of cycling safety and enforce the existing law.